Relaxing tea and book by the fire

We have written a lot about stress on this blog, especially how acupuncture works for stress and anxiety. In this post we will take a slight detour and talk about our top 6 free things you can do at home to help you manage your stress.

1. Eat a healthy, balanced diet. This will make you feel better in yourself and more able to cope with whatever life throws at you. If you don't have time to cook from scratch every day, try cooking more food than you need and freezing the extra portions for later in the week. Read more.

2. Get a good night's sleep. Everything seems worse when you're tired, so try to avoid this by improving your sleep. Keep to a regular bedtime every night and don't eat, or drink caffeinated drinks late in the evening. Avoid looking at cellphone or computer screens just before bed and try reading a book instead. If you find your worries are keeping you awake at night, try keeping a notebook by your bed. Jot them down and tell yourself you'll deal with them in the morning.

3. Get enough exercise. Like acupuncture, exercise releases endorphins which counteract the effects of stress. Find something you enjoy doing and try to do a little every day. Even a quick 20 minute walk in the fresh air can really help.

4. Try a relaxation technique. This could be yoga, meditation, or some simple breathing exercises. Breathing slowly in through your nose for a count of 7 and out through your mouth for a count of 11 is an easy one to try.

5. Talk about it. They say a problem shared is a problem halved, and getting things off your chest can make a big difference. Discuss work or relationship issues with your boss or partner in a calm, non-critical way and see if you can work together to find a solution.

6. Take time for yourself. Do something you enjoy, whether it be going for a massage, taking a long hot bath or treating yourself to a nice meal. Don't be afraid to say no to things if you have too much on your plate, and never feel guilty about looking after number one.

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